Let’s take a flight to Bakasana

Bakasana in Sanskrit means “Crane Pose” (“Baka” – crane and “Asana” – posture)  – arms straighten, knees in the armpits and buttocks as high in the air.  As a variation, this pose is often called Kakasana (“Kak”-crow and “Asana”- posture) or “Crow Pose” – arms stay bent, knees pressing the outside of triceps.

The principle of this pose is an arm balancing as a foundation to build strength, alignment and technique in yoga practice, where the palms are planted on the floor, shins rest upon upper arms with feet lifting up. Once you mastered the pose, it will be easier to practice other arm balance poses.

This dynamic balancing pose looks deceptively simple, however it will take time even years to adjust yourself into a comfortable position on entering, hold and exiting the posture, perhaps by lifting up the feet higher or straightened the arms and hold for longer time for 2 second to 1 minute with a strong core or even entering the pose from Vrksasana or handstand.

Before entering pose, we need to be mindful on what we are going to achieve on this pose, knowing the steps and the tricks.  Breathing and Drishti (gazing point) are the first trick and passing the fear of falling on your face comes second. The third trick is shifting the weight, meaning know how-to distributing the weight within the body to strengthen the pose structure and prevent injury.

Preparatory poses:
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing-Dog), Santolasana (Plank Pose), Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose), Marichyasana A and B, Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose), Malasana (Garland Pose), Lolasana (Pendant Pose)
Follow-up poses:
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing-Dog), Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), Santolasana (Plank Pose)
Step-by-step instruction:
1. Squatting down from Tadasana with feet hip width apart.  Keep the heels on the ground or supported by blocks or folded blanket/towel.  Stretch the arms forward, bend the elbow and place the palms strongly against the ground.  Bring the knees to the inner armpits.  Get steady and comfortable on this position for few second.
2.  Bring your inner thighs against the sides of your torso, knees on the armpits.  Lower your arms by lifting up buttocks and place the shins against the upper arms with control.  Keep tailbone as close as possible to the heels and start to round your back and contract the front torso.
3.  Set the drishti point by creating triangular shape starting from your palms as horizontal line (base of the triangle). Inhale, slowly lean forward and slowly shifting the weight to the arms and shoulder blade by rounding your back.  Feet should be on tip-toe position.  For beginner, you might want to stop on this step by trying to lifting up the feet off the ground with bended arms, then exit the pose slowly.
4.  If you are ready to go deeper, squeeze the side torso to inner thigh firmly.  Set the drishti, inhale deeply, squeeze the legs against the arms, press the inner arms and palms firmly to the ground and slowly straighten the elbow. With an inhalation, contract the mula-bandha, lift the buttocks high up, look to the ground or start bring your head slightly up, look forward without compressing the back of the neck.  Stay for five breath or longer.
5.  Exit the pose slowly within exhalation by lowering your feet down in control to malasana position.  If you are ready to take a challenge, you can exit the pose by (inhale, lock mula-bandha) jumping back from the hips or kicking your feet back in the same time with cautions and control (see pict-5a), take a flight to land on chaturanga dandasana position then vinyasa (see pict-5b).
photo 1
pict-5a lifting up legs from bakasana                      pict-5b jumping back to chaturanga
Enjoy the flight and keep on practising!
Rhea – Ashtanga 200hr, weekday 2015

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